You know, I’ve written quite a lot about Universal Judaism, but sadly, I have not had much conversation. I’d like to remind you that that’s what a blog is for.
Does anyone out there have any questions? Well ask away!!! I’m happy to answer, with the help of David , a Universal Judaism student in England.
In the meantime, I have been getting a lot of philosophical questions lately, so I thought that I would expound the religious philosophy of Universal Judaism in a more concise form.
Again, please don’t hesitate to ask questions. What good is a rabbi if there are no questions to answer? I need you!!!!
So here’s a new thought to TALK ABOUT!!!!
The Nature of God
God is Being, the Totality of All Being.
God is All Itself. IS Itself. All That IS.
Because God is All Itself, God is “One”.
“One”, as in Devarim–Deuteronomy 6:4, our sacred Shema, means a Unity.
As Bertrand Russell noted in his Philosophy of Mathematics, a “Unity” is not a provable entity; one cannot postulate or define a “term” or a “class” which is or contains “all”. Indeed, Russell notes that it is impossible to to define “all”, or some “totality”.
The One that is God– If “God” has any meaning at all as a term– is Being, beyond any term, class, or measuring-ability that we human beings have. To think or act or make decisions, based on any absolute-knowledge of God based upon any term, class or measuring ability, is what the ancient prophets called idolatry.
Idolatry is not some abstract philosophical notion with no applicability to our lives. Idolatry is how we mess up our lives! Avoiding idolatry is how we experience God or Good in our lives!
If we build a free enterprise system, and put currency before rivers, we create one kind of wealth but destroy another. This error is due to idolatry. We assume that what we create is more important than other “aspects” of God’s Being.
Now—- in classic theology—- there is an austere separation between God and Creation. God is “there”, and we are “here”. In this kind of separation, bridges are needed. One needs a “tzim tzum”, some kind of Kabbalistic (Jewish mystical) contraction to explain how to get, out of God, something else, without making God not one. How does one created a differentiated scale out of a non-scaled? Some theologies posit “man gods”, or in general, prophets, priests, pundits that “speak for God”. And yet, how could God speak to them—- unless we qualify the scale of knowledge in which prophetic gifts, such as this (which are very real) operate? Does God speak the King’s English? Or hip-hop?
In mystical theologies— mostly neoplatonic, such as Kabbalah, there is a tendency to blur everything, indistinguishably into some kind of Being-soup, in order to have Oneness. But, then, scale and differentiation seems like a betrayal.
Both these views are two opposite excessive views; both have some truth.
My view is that ALL is GOD, and WITH-IN All, there may be many universes, dimensions, worlds, creations, aspects, classes, terms, beyond the mere human mind’s capacity to ascertain, itself a “world” within God as hinted at in the Talmud, in the tractate in Sanhedrin 112 dealing with individuality, spoken about in Schindler’s List: “Destroy an individual it is as if you have destroyed a world.”
My view is that any Existence, Reality, All, Being, God, is therefore a UNITY, a Unity of Being, not definable by us.
However, just because this is not totally definable by us, doesn’t mean that what we understand or fathom about it, it totally false.
I CAN understand aspects of God’s Being. I CAN understand aspect of God’s Being AS Creation, or as an aspect of Creation (if your traditional) or as an aspect of the Creation-Creator (if you are me).
I CAN understand science, an aspect of God, and therefore Truth and God are the same. God is abundant in Truth, Exodus 34:7— because we cannot know the totality of Truth. God IS Abundance OF Truth; to us, God has a “quality” a hint of All Truth. The Torah is human knowledge of God, not God’s Knowledge of God!
It speaks of attributes— i.e. what human beings can attribute. Not total knowledge!
I CAN understand spiritual laws of relationships, such as the danger of “idolatry”.
I CAN understand, somewhat, myself. I too, am an aspect of God. But, I cannot understand myself completely, because I am “incomplete”, a work in progress, so-to-speak.
In my model above, spirituality is science, and science is spirituality.
What is religious—- the correct and proper behavior, thoughts and actions—- that link our individuality and the ALL, and do not allow our individuality creativity to isolate us from existence (such isolation IS what individuality is), but allows our individual isolated creative acts to become inspired by the Larger Creativity of God’s ALL— framed by certain earthly time-frames and knowledge-bases, cultural and historical and developmental— this is all based upon spiritual science!! Spiritual science, from the Latin, “to know”.
This is what creates “a” religion out of the religious-perspective, which is fundamentally a methodology emerging out of spiritual science.
But, if you think “a” religion is The Truth, the One, the All, the Totality, the Reality, Existence, Being in which any and all participate AS It, within their own scales, this is idolatry.
Moreover, in my view, God GROWS. God becomes more of God. We are “a” more that God added to God’s Own Self. We can never know ALL of God, because the All always becomes an ALL with MORE to it!!!
There is a separation between us and God because we grow from God, and God grows before us, and leaves us in his wake. See Exodus 33:22 The separation exists, but it is not austere! It is not radical!
Sadly, in my opinions, most religions are idolatrous.
Universal Judaism continuously seeks not to be. But, hey, no one is perfect!
Said more positively: We seek to KNOW GOD.
This is not, in Deuteronomic terms (30:11) “not far off”—- “in a galaxy, far, far away”.
God is RIGHT HERE!
You are in it. You are of it. But, neither it, or you, nor any “It” you may know is ALL of IT.
God is All of IT. “It” and “He” in Hebrew, are the same word, “hooh”.
Again— I’ve written numerous “thinkings” about Universal Judaism, but so far, I’ve yet to experience a conversation. Anyone feel like conversing? That’s what a blog is for.
In the meantime, for any Christians out there, or others who also honor the secular New Year, Happy New Year!
May we have a non-idolatrous 2015.
p.s. don’t take my word for my model. Try it on, and tell me if it works for you!
You’ll know if, when you implement it, it makes Life better, more Unified, More GOOD!!!! Test it!!!